Capturing Renewables: Solar Energy and Battery Storage Videos

CVE solar site in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.
CVE North America solar array in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Timelapse Challenge

One of our client projects in 2023 featuring renewable energy was creating a short video using drone and timelapse photography of a solar installation in Troy, New York, for CVE North America. There are a couple of challenges with the timelapse portion of a project like this. The first is deciding where to place the camera before any of the construction takes place. The Troy site was on a hill and we knew the whole array wouldn’t be visible from either the top or bottom of the hill, so we opted for a side view. The second challenge is mounting the camera (we used a wide angle GoPro in a Pelican case with a solar charging system). The trees surrounding the site were too far from the array, and the camera needed to be elevated for the perspective we wanted.

We first made one of these videos during the pandemic for CVE at a site in Massachusetts where we solved a similar problem by building a makeshift system that allowed easy access to the camera, which you can see on here on Jerry’s EcoPhotography blog. We outfitted the rig with a cellular modem to upload photos to a database we could access every day so we could monitor the project’s progress. Unfortunately, the cell coverage was spotty and pretty much stopped working about half way through, necessitating multiple trips to the site over several months to confirm the camera was still operating and to download footage. In the end, it all worked out and combined with the drone footage we shot ended up looking like this:

By the way, Jerry also shot still photos at an additional nine CVE sites. You can see some of those photos here:

Battery Storage in NYC

Ryan manning the Ronin at a Microgrid Networks facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Ryan manning the Ronin at a Microgrid Networks facility in Brooklyn, New York.

In October 2023, we made a trip to Brooklyn to film a video for Syso Technologies at one of Microgrid Networks‘ battery storage facilities in New York. Microgrid utilizes Syso’s systems for managing how their batteries operate. How it all works is a little hard for a creative like me to wrap my head around and it is all best described by the Syso and Microgrid folks in the video:

The NYC environment is a little different than our usual shooting locales, but we had a good time experiencing the best that Brooklyn had too offer, from the coffee and beer to the pizza and views of Manhattan. The biggest challenge on this shoot was filming the interviews beneath the flight path for both Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. The planes were constantly drowning out the audio of our interviewees who often had less than a minute to get their points across between planes. Still, it was a good time and we’re psyched to have Syso as a client. By the way, we met them through our membership in 1% for the Planet.